New Zealand to review forestry component of emission trading scheme

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WELLINGTON (Reuters) - The New Zealand government on Thursday said it would launch an independent review of costs associated with the forestry component of the country’s Emissions Trading Scheme.

Todd McClay, the forestry minister, said in a statement the government was looking for assurance that the scheme's costs, including whether forest owners should pay a NZ$30 ($18) per hectare annual fee for participating in it, were appropriate.

"Up and down the country forestry owners have been raising concerns about the excessive costs that have been imposed upon them by the previous government," McClay said.

Forestry and afforestation are key components of New Zealand's efforts to meet its 2050 emissions goals.

The country has more than 560,000 hectares (2,162 square miles) of forests, with more than 4,000 owners, in the emissions trading scheme. Roughly 30% of plantation forests are owned by indigenous tribes but there is also significant foreign investment in the sector.

The review will start in March and a report is expected in April.

($1 = 1.6407 New Zealand dollars)

(Reporting by Lucy Craymer; Editing by Sonali Paul)